Why in God’s Name Would Anyone Advertise Jesus on the Super Bowl?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and tooling around Google, when I came across this Fortune piece by Chris Morris (which I had to read on Yahoo Life, since I haven’t ponied up for a subscription to Fortune).

Mysterious donors are paying millions to run commercials for Jesus during the Super Bowl

Does Jesus need an ad campaign?

A group of anonymous donors seems to think so and will run two ads in Super Bowl LVII, paying the millions of dollars that Fox is asking for each ad spot. It’s the latest in a series of commercials that have run for the past 10 months under the banner “He Gets Us.”

The ad series spotlights Jesus as someone who is patient and loving and understands the human condition, especially as society gets more divided.

Wait – selling heaven during the Big Game? What the hell, Doc.

– Bowled Over

Dear Bowled,

Lots of head-scratching going on here, the least of which is why you’d mix a Jesus ad in with the endless procession of beer, blondes, and bros that populate your average Super Bowl ad.

But let’s start with that question anyway, which the website Christianity Today tries to answer in this unbylined piece posted yesterday.

“A large part of this movement is to call upon Christians to reflect Jesus by demonstrating the unconditional love and forgiveness he exemplified,” says [Jordan Carson, spokesperson and director of communication for He Gets Us]. “It’s a reminder for us, as Christians, to reflect on our own actions, and to align ourselves with how Jesus wanted us to treat and love one another.”

In order to further empower believers to reflect Jesus, He Gets Us Super Bowl ads center around a theme called “The Third Way.” This theme encourages Christians to reject the divisive and polarized nature of our cultural moment and to choose respect, kindness, and love in their interactions with others, just as Jesus did. He demonstrated unconditional love to everyone by rejecting both anger and apathy in favor of agape love, that sacrificial love that unites and heals.

Not sure agape love will play a big part in the action that occurs between Super Bowl commercials, but why get technical about it.

Regardless, here’s a representative spot from the He Gets Us campaign.

And here are some social media posts via Religion News Service.


The much larger question, of course, is who exactly is bankrolling the Come-to-Jesus campaign, which has been running throughout the NFL playoffs and has a reported budget of $100 million. Here’s how the Fortune piece described the funding.

The website for the campaign says the campaign is backed by Servant Foundation, a Missouri nonprofit whose donors have largely remained anonymous.

In November, however, Hobby Lobby founder David Green told talk show host Glenn Beck that his family was helping fund the ads. That has raised concerns that the far right could be using the ads as a recruitment campaign.

The He Gets Us campaign rejects those theories, however, saying on its website “We’re not ‘left’ or ‘right’ or a political organization of any kind. We’re also not affiliated with any particular church or denomination. We simply want everyone to understand the authentic Jesus as he’s depicted in the Bible—the Jesus of radical forgiveness, compassion, and love.”

Not to mention the Jesus of radical spending: “Organizers say they hope to spend $1 billion over the next three years to continue the pro-Jesus ads,” the Fortune piece reports.

Good lord.

GOP Ad Says Sen. Joe Manchin (D-Hell No) Owns a ‘Luxury Yacht’. Is That Right?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Axios Sneak Peek, when I came across this item by Josh Kraushaar.

The NRSC [National Republican Senatorial Committee] is out with a new direct mail and digital ad campaign portraying Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) as a Davos-trekking elitist, firing the first of many shots to come ahead of a potential re-election campaign . . .

Why it matters: Manchin, who hasn’t announced what he plans to do in 2024, is the only Democrat who can realistically hold a Senate seat in one of the most conservative states in the country.

The ad also says Manchin drives a Maserati and owns a $700,000 luxury yacht.

Is that why the boat’s named “Almost Heaven”?

– Almost Heavin’

Dear Ms. Heavin’,

Republicans would like nothing better than to hound Joe Manchin into retirement, since they’re desperate for his Senate seat.

Here’s the ad they hope will facilitate his exit, and please enjoy the narrator’s British accent, which is supposed to echo the voice of Robin Leach, late of the venerable Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Let’s do some fact-checking, shall we?

• For starters, it’s true that Manchin attended the World Economic Forum in Davos this month, a turn on the big stage that was largely notable for the high-five he shared with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Me Mine) over preserving  the Senate filibuster – something we thought  the NRSC [checks notes]  would totally dig. Guess not.

• It’s also true that Manchin owns a Maserati, for which he’s previously taken grief from climate change activists and Brian Williams. But isn’t owning a luxury car part of the American dream, which we thought Republicans [checks notes] have always touted? Guess not.

• It is not true that Manchin owns a “$700,000 D.C. luxury yacht,” as Andrew Beaujon noted two years ago in Washingtonian.

It’s not a yacht. Republicans tried to paint Manchin as yacht-owning “Washington Joe” during his 2018 reelection campaign. Mmmm, not quite: “The vessel is listed as ‘recreational’ on documents,” PolitiFact wrote in a fact-check. “However, a less confrontational—but similarly accurate—description could be ‘houseboat,’ since it is Manchin’s residence in Washington.”

P.S. The source the NRSC cites for the “luxury yacht” designation – 100 Days in Appalachia – is a known right-wing propaganda machine.

• Finally, the NRSC spot proclaims that “Life is very good for Democrat Joe Manchin while West Virginians get stuck with higher prices, smaller paychecks, and open borders . . . Tell Maserati Manchin it’s time to stand up for West Virginians.”

Not to get technical about it, but check out this graphic from Jonathan V. Last’s Triad newsletter at The Bulwark.

See that deep blue blotch straddling Virginia and Kentucky? That’s blood-red West Virginia, baby!  The Mountain State gets back $3.09 for every tax dollar it ponies up to the feds.

If you don’t think Joe Manchin has had a lot to do with that, you just haven’t been paying attention.

Is Rick Scott’s New TV Spot Meant to Give Mitch McConnell the Finger?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News, when I came across this item by Jake Sherman.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the former chair of the NRSC, is running an ad nationwide touting his race against Mitch McConnell for Republican leader and his 11-point plan, which became a widely used Democratic talking point.

The new spot is running in D.C., New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Scott is up for re-election in Florida in 2024, but this ad isn’t running in Florida, according to AdImpact. This is sure to raise lots of eyebrows in Senate GOP circles.

It sure raised mine, Doc. What the hell’s that all about?

– Scot Free

Dear Mr. Free,

Let’s begin at the beginning.

Last March, Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R-Largest Medicare Fraud in U.S. History) introduced his 11-point Plan to Rescue America, as Jonathan Weisman reported in the New York Times.

WASHINGTON — Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the somewhat embattled head of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, said one utterly indisputable thing on Thursday when he stood before a packed auditorium of supporters at the conservative Heritage Foundation: His plan for a G.O.P. majority would make everyone angry at him, Republicans included.

It was an odd admission for the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. His leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has repeatedly told Mr. Scott to pipe down about his “11-Point Plan to Rescue America,” with its call to impose income taxes on more than half of Americans who pay none now, and to sunset all legislation after five years, presumably including Social Security and Medicare.

According to this CNN report by  and ther proposals in Scott’s plan included “ending imports from China, cutting the federal government workforce by 25% and building a wall on the US-Mexico border and naming it after former President Donald Trump.”

As everyone except Rick Scott could have told you, the whole thing went over like the metric system.

Especially lathered up was Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-I’m de captain here!), as he made clear at a press conference reported by CNN.

“Let me tell you what would not be a part of our agenda,” McConnell said. “We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people, and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”

Apparently undaunted by the widespread backlash he encountered at the time and his subsequent beatdown by McConnell in last fall’s Senate leadership bakeoff, Scott has doubled down with his current TV spot.

Here’s his pitch, annotated for your convenience.

People told me not to run for Republican leader against Mitch McConnell. They said I wouldn’t win. (Duh)

I knew it was gonna be hard. (As in, impossible)

But we gotta start somewhere. (Too bad Rick Scott is currently nowhere)

Look – we’re on the road to woke socialism. (His proof: A screenshot of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)

And Republicans are just a speed bump. (Not even that smart, honestly)

We can’t keep doing the same old thing. It’s time for Republicans to be bold, to speak the truth, and to stop caving in. (The way Mitch McConnell keeps doing)

Help us change our party – join us at RescueAmerica.com. (Please give me money so I can run more noodleheaded ads like this one)

I’m Rick Scott. I approve this message. (Of course you do)

Scott is spending a reported seven figures on the national ad buy, which truly makes you wonder why he doesn’t just set his money on fire.

Meanwhile, Politico Playbook PM reports that a new ad campaign has been launched by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose chairman until 12 days ago was [checks notes] Rick Scott.

2024 WATCH — “‘Retire or get fired’: Senate GOP campaign committee targets Manchin, red-state Democrats with ad campaign,” by Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser: “The ad campaign from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), titled ‘Retire or Get Fired,’ takes aim at Trump-state Democratic Sens. JOE MANCHIN of West Virginia, JON TESTER of Montana and SHERROD BROWN of Ohio over what the NRSC calls their ‘liberal records’ and ties the senators to President Joe Biden.” Watch the Manchin adWatch the Tester adWatch the Brown ad

Here’s the Tester ad.

Inconveniently for the NRSC, Morning Consult’s Eli Yokley just reported that “60% of Montana voters approve of Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, making him the most popular incumbent expected to face a competitive 2024 contest.”

So maybe not the wisest use of the NRSC’s money.

The Doc’s diagnosis: It’s hard to imagine that those NRSC ads came together in the past two weeks, which means they probably represent more of Rick Scott’s handiwork. If so, the logical conclusion would be a) he has four middle fingers, and b) none of them are very flippin’ effective.

Or is our analysis for the birds . . .

Really? People Can Sue Movie Studios for Promoting Bogus Trailers?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading MediaPost Agency Daily, when I came across this piece by Fern Siegel.

Movie Fans Can Sue Studios For Advertising Misleading Trailers

False advertising law now applies to deceptive movie trailers.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled movie studios can be sued under these circumstances. The case involves the 2019 film “Yesterday,” about a world without the Beatles.

Two fans of actress Ana de Armas (“Blonde,” “No Time To Die”) rented the movie in January because they saw her in the trailer. The catch? She isn’t in the actual film.

Universal Studios tried to have the case dismissed, but the judge rejected the claim.

What the hell, Doc – I thought commercial speech was protected under the First Amendment. Whatever happened to the puffery defense?

– Film Buffeted

Dear Buff,

In this case, the puffery defense seems to have gone up in smoke.

First of all, let’s stipulate that the MediaPost piece is late to the party of the first part, disclosing that “Variety first reported the news” – a week earlier, if you’re keeping score at home.

Here’s Variety reporter Gene Waddaus’ scoop on the trailer tempest.

Universal sought to throw out the lawsuit, arguing that movie trailers are entitled to broad protection under the First Amendment. The studio’s lawyers argued that a trailer is an “artistic, expressive work” that tells a three-minute story conveying the theme of the movie, and should thus be considered “non-commercial” speech.

But [U.S. District Judge Stephen] Wilson rejected that argument, finding that a trailer is commercial speech and is subject to the California False Adverting Law and the state’s Unfair Competition Law.

“Universal is correct that trailers involve some creativity and editorial discretion, but this creativity does not outweigh the commercial nature of a trailer,” Wilson wrote. “At its core, a trailer is an advertisement designed to sell a movie by providing consumers with a preview of the movie.”

The backstory is a total hoot: “The plaintiffs, Conor Woulfe of Maryland and Peter Michael Rosza of San Diego County, Calif., each paid $3.99 to rent ‘Yesterday’ on Amazon Prime. They are seeking at least $5 million as representatives of a class of movie customers.”

For the record, here’s the treacherous trailer.

Variety noted that Universal Studios also threw the whataboutism defense against the wall.

In their briefing on the issue, Universal’s lawyers argued that movie trailers have long included clips that do not appear in the finished film. They cited “Jurassic Park” (another Universal film), which had a trailer comprised entirely of footage that is not in the movie.

No dice – the case is headed for discovery and a motion for class certification.

At this point the Doc feels compelled to summon the Bards of Liverpool.

Yesterday

All my troubles seemed so far away

Now it looks as though they’re here to stay . . .

Looks as though, indeed.

Wait, What? Balenciaga Is Suing the Producers of Its Own Ad Campaign?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Oliver Darcy’s CNN Reliable Sources newsletter, when I came across these items.

• Kim Kardashian is “re-evaluating” her relationship with Balenciaga amid backlash over the brand’s recent ad campaign that featured children with BDSM items. (NBC News)

Balenciaga, meanwhile, is suing the producers of the ad campaign. (NPR)

Really, Doc, they get to do that – approve an ad campaign and then sue over it? Sounds kind of addled to me.

– Trying to Keep Up

Dear Trying,

Actually, it happens more often than you might think. (See here for a bunch of examples.) One of the most famous cases was this Super Bowl ad that retail chain Just For Feet ran in 1999.

Back then one of the Doc’s good pals produced a piece about the spot for APM’s Marketplace. Here’s how his commentary began.

Retailers are the hypochondriacs of the business world – endlessly taking their temperature at the cash register, constantly checking for downdrafts in the market, and looking over their shoulder at last year’s sales figures so often, it’s a wonder they don’t have chiropractors on staff. As for adventurous advertising, retailers may not be allergic to it, but excess creativity does tend to give them the sniffles.

All the more remarkable, then, that Just For Feet’s Super Bowl ad ever saw the blue light of day. The spot shows a barefoot Kenyan runner being tracked by white paramilitaries in a Humvee. They pull up alongside him, slip a Mickey into a cup of water that he inexplicably accepts, and next thing you know the runner wakes up to find a pair of Nikes on his feet.

(RUNNER) Nooooooooooooo  (ANCR) Just for Feet. To protect and serve feet.

Apparently, protecting and serving clients was not a priority for the retailer’s ad agency, Saatchi and Saatchi Business Communications. The press alternately labeled the spot reprehensible and racist, and Just for Feet kept seeing itself in the same sentence as Texaco and Denny’s. So the retailer sued the agency for marketing malpractice, which immediately raises the question, CAN someone violate the standards of an industry that clearly has none?

At least that’s the response Saatchi & Saatchi has filed in court papers according to a story in the Internet magazine Salon. That should put the agency in solid with its other clients . . .

Meanwhile, Just For Feet’s stock is down 75% since last year. Thanks to Saatchi & Saatchi, the stock of the ad industry could be even lower.

Just For Feet eventually dropped its $10 million lawsuit against Saatchi & Saatchi, shortly before the chain filed for bankruptcy.

Back to the present, NBC Today show contributor Lindsay Lowe detailed the origins of the Kardashian/Balenciaga dustup.

Kim Kardashian says she is “re-evaluating” her relationship with Balenciaga in light of the brand’s recent ad campaign that featured images of young children posing with teddy bears that appeared to be wearing BDSM-inspired accessories.

 “I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened,” Kardashian, 42, wrote in her Instagram story on Sunday.

 “As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images,” she continued. “The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period.”

A couple of the ad images, for those of you keeping score at home.

So what did Balenciaga do about the media critiques of its campaign? The fashion house turned around and sued the creative team that came up with the ads. Balenziaga’s lawsuit rolled in an additional campaign with a controversial image, as NPR’s Emily Olson related.

Balenciaga, the luxury fashion brand that sparked back-to-back controversies over two recent ad campaigns, has signaled its plans to sue the production company North Six for its role in creating one of the ads.

The backlash began when online scrutinizers noticed a page from the 2008 Supreme Court decision United States v. Williams in the backdrop for an ad showcasing a $3,000 purse.

The ruling upheld the constitutionality of a child pornography conviction.

The ad, which has since been removed from the company’s website, was part of the fashion house’s Spring 2023 collaboration with the activewear brand Adidas.

As in Adidas, the company that just dumped Kanye West, who was recently dumped by his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, nicely completing the Circle of Brandicide.

For those of you keeping score at home, here’s the ad for the $3000 purse.

For the life of us, we can’t locate the offending document anywhere in the photograph. Then again, the Doc’s not an optometrist, okay?

But Google Images found it.

Anyway, here’s the current state of play as reported by Nick Kostov and Stacy Meichtry  in the Wall Street Journal.

Balenciaga filed a lawsuit in New York state against Nicholas Des Jardins, a set designer who worked on that ad campaign, and North Six, a production company involved in the photo shoot. In the lawsuit, Balenciaga alleges Mr. Des Jardins and North Six were responsible for including the excerpt of the court decision in the ad campaign.

“In no way was any controversial material intentionally placed by me or anyone on my team,” Mr. Des Jardins wrote in an email to The Wall Street Journal. “There were literally tens of thousands of papers on-set rented from a prop house,” he said.

North Six declined to comment.

Kim Kardashian has remained mum about the second ad donnybrook, while Balenciaga has deep-sixed both ad campaigns, saying they “reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility.”

And for which Balenciaga should take a serious financial hit.

But that’s just our diagnosis.

How Many Lost Advertisers Does It Take To Screw Twitter?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Joe Mandese’s MediaPost column, when I came  across this item about Twitter, consumer brands, and public opinion.

While its new owner Elon Musk has blamed pressure groups — as well as advertisers themselves — for discontinuing advertising on Twitter, half of American consumers believe it was the right thing to do since he acquired the company and began making it an even more toxic place for brand marketers and consumers alike.

According to a survey of 500 U.S. adults fielded by Pollfish  on Tuesday, 49% agree with the decisions of big brands to halt their Twitter ad spending, while 27% said they do not agree with their decision and 24% said they’re not sure.

Seeing as how Twitter has normally gotten about 90% of its revenue from ad sales, that’s gotta leave a mark, eh Doc?

– Tweet Dreams

Dear TD,

Yeah, that survey just adds insult to (financial) injury.

Start with Musk’s whining about activist groups pressuring advertisers to ghost Twitter. As CNBC’s Lora Kolodny and Jonathan Vanian have reported, Musk claims that a coalition of activist groups “broke an agreement with him by encouraging companies to halt advertising on Twitter.”

Here’s the dispute in a nutshell, compliments of Patrick W. Watson.

As the CNBC piece noted, those activist groups actively disagree.

Derrick Johnson, CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in response to Musk’s claims on Tuesday that the civil rights groups “would never make such a deal” and that “Democracy always comes first.”

“The decisions being made at Twitter are dangerous, and it is our duty, as it has been since our founding, to speak out against threats to our democracy,” Johnson said. “Hate speech and violent conspiracies can have no safe harbor.”

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Free Press, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center all say ditto.

So there’s that.

And then there’s this, according to NPR’s Halisia Hubbard.

Twitter has lost 50 of its top 100 advertisers since Elon Musk took over, report says

Half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers appear to no longer be advertising on the website. A report from Media Matters for America states that these 50 advertisers have spent almost $2 billion on Twitter ads since 2020 and more than $750 million just in 2022.

Seven additional advertisers have slowed their advertising to almost nothing, according to the report, which was published on Tuesday. These companies have paid Twitter more than $255 million since 2020.

And perhaps the unkindest cut of all for our very own Muskie Muskrat is this Joe Mandese post at Red, White, and Blog.

Vox Populi, Vox Dei: Musk Won’t Own Twitter Much Longer

If the voice of the people really is the voice of God — as Elon Musk keeps tweeting — then he won’t own Twitter much longer.

According to a survey conducted by Pollfish for MediaPost on Tuesday, most American adults do not believe Musk will even own Twitter more than a year.

While a third believe he will own the social media platform a year or more, most consumers believe it will only be “a few months” or “until something else catches his fancy.”

So, will Musk and Twitter crash and burn?

Maybe even prob-a-bool.

Wait, What? There’s Already a Ron DeSantis 2024 Presidential Ad?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading a Politico Nightly post by David Siders and Charlie Mathesian, when I came across this item, which noted that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign announcement had failed utterly to freeze the 2024 primary field.

The Ron DeSantis bandwagon is already rolling.

Next week, in an advertising campaign shared first with Nightly, a pro-DeSantis super PAC will begin airing TV ads in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

The ads, which began airing digitally today, follow a week in which the Florida governor’s star has risen — and Trump, following a bruising midterm, has lost his luster with many Republicans.

Seriously, Doc – no rest for the weary?

– Ron DeSist, Please

Dear DeSist,

Now that Donald Trump has thrown his MAGA cap into the ring (and check out Michael Wolff’s New York Times op-ed for a sense of how ultra-shambolic the former Cheeto-in-Chief’s third run for the White House is shaping up to be), it’s off to the races, yeah?

The ad from pro-DeSantis super PAC Ron to the Rescue is its version of American Carnage: “Lockdowns. Rampant inflation. Rising crime. Soaring gas prices. A nation on the brink.”

Here’s how the voiceover ends: “To defeat Biden and restore our country, America needs leadership. We need Ron DeSantis.”

As the Sunday comics feature used to ask, What’s missing from this picture? If you guessed Donald Trump, you’re right! But Trump does come up on the super PAC’s website.

Under the current management of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, our nation has drastically suffered. Inflation is shrinking the Middle-class, supply-chain issues are eroding small businesses, and soft-on-crime policies are destroying community safety.

If we don’t turn this ship around soon, we won’t have a nation to return to. We need someone with the courage to stand up to the woke radical left and return us to an America First agenda. We need someone with the bravery of President Lincoln, the charm of President Reagan, and the determination of President Trump.

Too bad what DeSantis actually brings is the glass jaw of Gerry Cooney, the tiny arms of a T-Rex, and a cast-off suit from his old man. But why get technical about it.

Besides, it’s early days, and what matters most to the chattering classes right now is the horse race. Politico Nightly helpfully provided some numbers.

Recent polling underscores DeSantis’ popularity with Republicans outside Florida. Earlier this week, the conservative Club for Growth released a polling memoshowing DeSantis running ahead of Trump in multiple states — the polling data less significant than what releasing it said about the heavyweight group’s leanings heading into 2024.

In a survey of likely Republican primary voters in GOP-oriented Texas, DeSantis was beating Trump by 11 percentage points. Even polling that shows Trump ahead of DeSantis has been moving in the Florida governor’s direction: In a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll this week, Trump was beating DeSantis by 14 percentage points among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. But the margin was 22 percentage points before the midterms.

The Doc’s diagnosis?  Sorry, folks – not seeing a DeSist anytime soon in DeFuture.

How in the World Did $16.7 Billion Get Spent on the 2022 Midterms?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Politico Weekly Score’s Pre-Election Day Special Edition by Madison Fernandez,  when I came across this knee-buckling statistic.

— $16.7 billion: The new projected total spending on state and federal elections blows away the 2018 record. Federal candidates and political committees are expected to spend $8.9 billion, while state candidates, party committees and ballot measure committees are on track to hit more than $7.8 billion, per OpenSecrets.

What the hell, Doc – have they completely lost their minds?

– All Those Dollars and No Sense

Dear All Those,

Well yes they have.

Here’s how the Politico piece broke down the spending.

— $272 million: That’s how much party committees have booked on TV, cable, satellite, radio and digital ads from the beginning of the year through Election Day, per AdImpact. The Democrats spent more over the last eleven months in both chambers. DCCC tops that list with over $96 million, followed by NRCC with over $91 million. DSCC poured in over $45 million, and NRSC spent over $39 million.

— $693 million: That spending script is flipped when it comes to the parties’ flagship congressional super PACs. Republicans dominated the space, contributing to over half of that total. Senate Leadership Fund and Congressional Leadership Fund booked over $206 million and $189 million, respectively. Senate Majority PAC booked over $155 million, and House Majority PAC dedicated over $142 million.

Donald Trump’s MAGA, Inc. grudgingly coughed up $16 million across a handful of swing states, but that’s chump change compared to 1) the total amount he’s fleeced the rubes for, and 2) the amounts spent by other outside groups.

“We’ve also seen huge ad spending from outside groups like Club for Growth Action (over $61 million since the beginning of the year), Citizens for Sanity (over $59 million) and Mitch McConnell-affiliated One Nation (over $58 million),” Politico’s Fernandez wrote.

It’s all been pretty smashmouth, but especially vile has been the advertising campaign from the self-styled Citizens for Sanity, a dark-money PAC spearheaded by MAGA gunsel Stephen (Babysnatcher) Miller. As Matt Stieb wrote in New York’s Intelligencer, “[the] ads have been flagged on YouTube as “inappropriate or offensive to some audiences” and widely decried as blatantly racist.”

This one serves as a representative sample.

PolitiFact’s overall grades for the group tell you all you need to know about it.

All those dollars and no sense of decency, eh?

Wait – 30,000 NH Campaign Ads on Boston Airwaves Since Labor Day?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading the Weekend Wall Street Journal, when I came across this item in John McCormick’s piece about the $7.5 billion being spent nationally on 2022 midterm campaign ads.

The Las Vegas market has had the heaviest advertising since Labor Day. Nevada is home to competitive races for governor and both chambers of Congress. Philadelphia, a top market in a state with open-seat races for Senate and governor, saw the second-most spots. Boston, in third place, covers parts of New Hampshire, where there are competitive House and Senate races.

What the hell, Doc – is it right that the good people of Boston should get dragged into the Granite State’s sadstravaganza?

– Campaign Addled

Dear Addled,

It’s not right, it’s politics.

Here’s the tally of campaign ads on broadcast and cable TV through October 17, according to AdImpact.

More to the point, the New Hampshire Senate race between incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan and challenger Don Bolduc (R-Gen. Strangelove) has produced almost $50 million in ad spending overall.

But here’s the difference: According to this Journal graphic on the share of negative ads aired, the Democrats are largely less combative overall than the smashmouth GOP.

That seems especially true in the Hassan-Bolduc race, given this YouTube compilation of Hassan’s recent ads, only one of which attacks Bolduc.

Hassan’s own YouTube channel doesn’t even include that spot, so she’s not exactly Maggie-fying Bolduc’s negatives.

As for Gen. Strangelove, he launched this TV spot – the first from his campaign – in early October

Check out this chart, though, from McCormick’s WSJ piece detailing what “candidates and their allies” spent  on TV ads from Labor Day through October 18.

That twenty-something million virtually all came from two Republican party groups – Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (representative samples here  and here) – both of which, according to this piece by New York Times reporters Shane Goldmacher and  have cancelled millions more in New Hampshire ad buys

The SLF had planned to spend $23 million on the Bolduc-Hassan bakeoff, but seems to have drawn the line at $18 million. Still, that’s throwing a lot of good money after a bad candidate.

Then again,  at least Boston TV viewers will be spared five million more dollars of attacks on Hassan by McConnell’s wet workers. Be thankful for small favors, yeah?

Are Any GOP Campaign Ads This Year *Not* Lying to Voters?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today nd here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News, when I came across this item by Max Cohen.

Voters in the country’s most competitive House and Senate races face a deluge of Republican ads focusing on the dubious claim that Democrats have empowered the IRS to hire an army of 87,000 new agents to target the middle class.

Since Aug. 1, Republican candidates and groups have spent more than $12 million on roughly 24,000 airings of ads warning of a massive influx of IRS agents, according to an AdImpact analysis. The spots are targeting vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and New Hampshire, as well as toss-up House races from Michigan to Kansas.

But at the heart of the attack ads is an argument the IRS itself says is “inaccurate.” Experts say that the IRS is mainly seeking to replenish its aging workforce and beef up its outdated tech, not hound average Americans.

What the hell, Doc – all these Republican grifters just get to lie their way into office?

– GOPsmacked

Dear Smacked,

That seems to be the general drift of this election cycle. Then again, $12 million is lunch money in the big scheme of this year’s U.S. Senate races, as evidenced by this Katherine Huggins piece at MarketWatch.

Outside spending is pouring into the 2022 Senate races, as Democratic control of the chamber hangs in flux.

Nearly $450 million in outside spending has been spent on Senate races so far this cycle, according to OpenSecrets, a watchdog group that tracks money in politics. Just over 80% of that sum, or about $360 million, went to the 10 races deemed competitive by Cook Political Report.

Lunch money or not, $12 million in lying ads is not nothing, as Punchbowl News points out, especially when it puts falsehoods like these on the public radar screen

Senate Leadership Fund, the GOP super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, accused Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) of voting “yes to 87,000 new IRS employees to audit the middle class.”

SLF also assailed Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) for his vote “to hire 87,000 new IRS employees to dig even deeper in middle class pockets.”

None of that is true. Here’s what is true: “The IRS expects up to 50,000 of its current 80,000 employees to retire in the next five years. And despite facing a far broader set of responsibilities, the agency is operating with far fewer employees than it was 30 years ago, when the IRS boasted 117,000 workers.”

So most of the new hires will simply replace the departing staffers. Beyond that, the IRS is about as technologically sophisticated as Donald Trump, so a bunch of the other new hires will be tech geeks, not jack-booted tax auditors.

The GOP’s deceptive campaign ads don’t stop there, though, as Judd Legum reported in his Popular Information newsletter.

One of the challenges of attacking any Democratic incumbent on crime is identifying a basis for the attack. Democrats have controlled Congress for two years and, for better or worse, have not done anything to reform the criminal justice system or reduce the power of law enforcement. Both the Senate and House have passed legislation, the Invest to Protect Act, that would provide tens of millions of additional funding to local police departments.

That didn’t stop Republican candidates and the groups that support them from running 53,000 commercials on crime during the first three weeks of September. Over the same time period, “50 percent of all Republican online ads in battleground states…focused on policing and safety.”

Cue Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund, which “is running ads claiming that [Georgia Senator Raphael] Warnock “chose felons over Georgia families.”

As Legum notes, however, the windfall for felons was a bipartisan gift.

The ad claims that Warnock voted “to send almost a billion in COVID relief checks to hundreds of thousands of convicted criminals in prison.” There are similar attack ads currently being run against Democratic Senate candidates in Ohio and Florida. And the NRSC has made the same claim against Democratic Senate candidates in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Nevada.

These ads, however, are extremely deceptive. If Democrats “chose felons” over law-abiding families, so did almost every incumbent Republican Senator and former President Trump.

To top off the general GOP mendacity, we have Amy Gardner’s piece in today’s Washington Post.

A majority of GOP nominees — 299 in all — deny the 2020 election results

Experts say their dominance in the party poses a threat to the country’s democratic principles and jeopardizes the integrity of future votes

A majority of Republican nominees on the ballot this November for the House, Senate and key statewide offices — 299 in all — have denied or questioned the outcome of the last presidential election, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Candidates who have challenged or refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory are running in every region of the country and in nearly every state. Republican voters in four states nominated election deniers in all federal and statewide races The Post examined.

The worst part? “Although some are running in heavily Democratic areas and are expected to lose, most of the election deniers nominated are likely to win: Of the nearly 300 on the ballot, 174 are running for safely Republican seats. Another 51 will appear on the ballot in tightly contested races.”

The Post piece also includes a helpful Election Denier Finder.

The 2022 GOP LieAthon: Ask for it by name!